Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child's well-being.

Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child's well-being.

Promoting Social-Emotional Learning and Development

Physical Environment: Providers can encourage social and emotional learning by arranging classrooms and home teaching environments. Some tips for room arrangement include:

  • offer stimulating but not overwhelming spaces ready to encourage exploration
  • make sure there are plenty of age-appropriate materials to limit competition for toys (have duplicates of popular toys)
  • design the teaching environment to offer the right amount of interest and level of challenge to meet each child’s individual needs
  • create a quiet space for children to escape “the crowd”

Source: http://www.childcareservices.org/_downloads/FOCUSspring2010.pdf

Teaching During Natural Routines: Providers can incorporate social and emotional learning in the daily routines that are established for the children in their care. Talk to children about what is going on during routines such as dressing the child, during meal time, during play, rest time or even during diapering and toileting. Interact with children in ways that engage them in thinking and learning (for example: counting buttons aloud as they are fastened). Be responsive to children’s individual needs (one child may be soothed by a gentle hug, while another is more comfortable with an encouraging smile).

Great Resources to share:
Social and Emotional Tips for Providers Caring for Infants
http://www.ecmhc.org/documents/CEMHC_Tips_Infants_Providers_2.pdf

Social and Emotional Tips for Providers Caring for Toddlers
http://ecmhc.org/documents/CEMHC_Tips_Toddlers_Providers.pdf

Tips to Promote Social and Emotional Learning Behaviors:
• Plan “learning opportunities” that are age-appropriate and culturally appropriate
• Plan environments to maximize opportunities for learning through discovery
• Select, place and rotate materials based on your observations of children
• Watch children’s cues and signs of interest- follow their lead
• Ask what the child wants
• Look for ways to expand rather than interrupt spontaneous learning
• Offer soothing, supportive language, appropriate to the child’s age
• Model appropriate social behaviors
• Consider each child’s unique style